Over a year of construction later, Moorpark College completes $18 million gym renovation


Kenny Stewart works out with the rest of the Moorpark football team in the newly renovated section of the gym on Thursday, Jan. 16. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

By Madina Safdari

A project that broke ground in August 2018 is finally coming to an end as Moorpark College prepares to open its doors to the new Raider Sports Pavilion. Decked out with new locker rooms, equipment, a weight room, an Athletic Training Clinic and more, the gym marks the beginning of a new chapter for Moorpark College athletics.

Athletic Director, Vance Manakas played an essential role in helping bring the new gym to fruition. Manakas served on a committee with other staff members to plan a gym renovation that would meet the athletic departments needs.

“We got input from many of our coaches and our staff on what their wishes were, what their needs were. We got input from our support staff, our athletic trainers and our equipment personnel and what their needs were,” Manakas said. “And what was nice is we told them what our needs were and the architects came up with the with the plan pretty much the way it is.”

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Jalen Turner shoulder presses alongside other Moorpark football players in the newly renovated gym on Thursday, Jan. 16. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

The gym renovation was largely made possible by a $356 million bond titled Measure S that was passed in March 2002 by Ventura County voters for the three local community colleges. Moorpark College was given $104 million of the sum to utilize towards construction projects that would expand and renovate the campus.

The campus has utilized a portion of those funds towards renovating the gym which was originally estimated to be an $8 million project but has now concluded at $18 million. In addition to the structural expansion of the gym, it is now entirely equipped with air conditioning, dedicated offices for athletic staff, multipurpose classrooms, fitness studios and most exciting of all, a 4,000 square foot Field House adjacent to the gymnasium.

Kinesiology department chair and assistant women’s basketball coach Remy McCarthy served on the committee alongside Manakas and helped plan upgrades in the lockers and showers that haven’t been touched since the building was built in 1967.

“What excites me most is that future students will have state of the art facilities to go along with our outstanding instruction,” McCarthy said.

Manakas emphasized that the gym is not only meant to be enjoyed by student athletes, but is going to drastically expand course offerings for physical science and kinesiology majors. Instead of a limited selection of classes offered at specific times due to class space not being available, the gym expansion will allow for more opportunities.

“We’ll be able to offer multiple classes simultaneously. So we could be having a core stability class, we can be having a yoga class going on simultaneously because of the facilities. Which previously we couldn’t do that,” Manakas explained.

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After renovation, the gym now has updated offices, locker rooms and weight rooms. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Second year student Zoheb Amilee, currently taking a kinesiology basketball class is excited to take advantage of the new space.

“I can not wait to start using the weight room and the equipment. Moorpark has done their homework and got the top of the line machines in there,” Amilee shared. “The spacing allows a multitude of activities and sports to be played at the same time, and I personally think that is amazing and can’t wait to get more involved.”

The gym will officially be unveiled on Saturday Jan. 25 as part of a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by a men’s basketball game against Cuesta College. The event begins at 2 p.m. and is free to the public for those who would like to tour the facilities and attend the reception. The basketball game begins at 3 p.m. where Moorpark College will retire the jersey of alumnus TK Reed, who was on the Western State Conference championship team 20 years ago.